One Film to Rule Them All - Lord of the Rings


Imagine taking a final exam in your favorite subject at school. You like the subject matter, and you're sure that when it's all over, you're going to like the results. But it's still a lot of work to get through the whole experience, and when it's all over you can't help but feel exhausted. The new film version of Lord of the Rings is just like that.

First off, let me say that this was a very long movie. Incredibly long. Harry Potter was long too, but it didn't feel long. Lord of the Rings feels long, even if they did leave out much of the action as it unfolds in Tolkien's original novel. This is why I compare it to a final exam, or watching a baseball game, any other serious investment of time. No matter what the outcome, it takes a lot of time and energy. In this case, the film is definitely worth the time.

Lord of the Rings may just be the best fantasy film ever made. And I say that with several reservations, with more than a few gripes, and with the knowledge that hundreds of other reviewers are saying the same thing, even though it's only been a month since everyone said the same thing about Harry Potter. Which is precisely the problem, come to think of it.

Lord of the Rings, you see, is like an ourobouros. In case you're not quite up on the lingo, an ourobouros is one of those circle-shaped figures where the snake is eating its own tail. In this case, Lord of the Rings is like that snake. Long, long ago, Tolkien wrote this novel which happened to influence a bunch of guys who were making this game called Dungeons & Dragons, and that game happened to influence a bunch of filmmakers who created a bunch of fantasy films, and those films influenced the guys who decided to make this film. So ultimately, the Lord of the Rings movie was influenced by the Lord of the Rings novel.

This all seems obvious, of course. But the point I'm trying to make is that when it comes to most films, say, Willow or Beastmaster, it's possible to look at the movie in and of itself, and review it on its own merits. It's impossible to do that with Lord of the Rings. It has too much history, and avoiding comparisons to the book would be futile. So let's get that out of the way first. Minor spoilers ahead.

1. A lot got cut out. I mean, a lot. But they had to, or this would have been a 6 hour movie. The whole scene with the Barrow Wights is gone, as is much of the intermediary action between Hobbiton and Moria. You'd think that this would pick up the pace a bit, but it doesn't. What it does do is serve to illustrate one of Tolkien's greatest weaknesses as a writer: he had no idea when to get to the point. He admitted that the story got away from him and got longer as he wrote it, and it shows, both in the novel and in the movie. There's too much going on. It's not one story, but a dozen stories. And it's a test of endurance to sit through it all at once.

2. A lot got changed. Glorfindel is replaced by Arwen for the most part, the hobbits get swords from Aragorn, magical powers appear to be more telekinetic in nature than anything, and the whole bit with the broken sword is just a subplot of a subplot. Aragorn doesn't even carry the thing.

3. A lot got added. You won't notice it all at first, of course, unless you're a Tolkien fanatic, but it's there. Saruman is a much larger presence here, playing the role of Emperor to Gandalf's Obi-Wan Kenobi and taking responsibility for everything from the avalanches that force the party to turn to Moria, to the creation of the Uruk-Hai orcs.

None of these additions, subtractions or changes makes the story any less enjoyable in any way. Quite to the contrary: it's possible (although slightly heretical) to say that the Lord of the Rings film is better than the novel at telling its story. It's more concise, with easier to follow plot points and more amalgamated minor characters, and it skips over much of the drudgery of walking from point A to point B and gets right to the action. More importantly, it's also more clearly the first film in a trilogy. Tolkien didn't intend for Lord of the Rings to be a trilogy; his publishers did. Lord of the Rings, the novel, is meant to be read as a single piece. Lord of the Rings, the movie, is influenced by decades of film trilogies, and is meant to be the first part of a trilogy. And it definitely feels like it.

Aragorn, for instance, is made out to be much more important in the film than he is, at first, in the novel. He knows, for instance, that Frodo is leaving before it happens, and it is he who kills the final orc when Boromir is defending Merry and Pippin in vain. The reason for this is obvious: for Two Towers, we're splitting the party up into three pieces. Much like Luke and Han split up in The Empire Strikes Back, he and Frodo are going their separate ways, and each will deal with things in his own way, and we absolutely need to establish Aragorn as a more important character, since he'll have to carry his part of the story on his own. This is accomplished quite well.

In fact, all the characters are likable for their own reasons, and none of them is overbearing or overdone. This is particularly important when it comes to the crucial triad of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, who have gone on to form the archetypical triad that appears in so many fantasy novels (such as Drizzt, Bruenor and Wulfgar from R.A. Salvatore's Icewind Dales Trilogy). Legolas is decidedly elven, but he's not a pointy-shoe wearing pansy, nor a magically-augmented speed freak. He's a crack shot with a bow, but that's all, and we never get the impression that he's nothing but ears. Likewise, Gimli is well played with a full range of emotion, not at all like the sickening parody of a dwarf that the world was forced to witness in the Dungeons & Dragons movie.

Was it a good film? Absolutely. One of the best of the year. One of the best I've ever seen. Will it change the world? No. Will it change the face of fantasy films for the decade to come? Probably not. But it might, especially since it's not over yet. Not only are there two more films coming in this series, but Harry Potter's got at least two more sequels coming as well. It will be hard to avoid fantasy films for a while, and in my book that's a good thing.

Something to consider, however, is whether or not the world can still embrace a Lord of the Rings as eagerly as it embraced Harry Potter. The fantasy genre and role-playing games, like it or not, are traditionally geared towards a younger audience, and Harry Potter pulls in that audience a lot more readily than Lord of the Rings nowadays. It's got snappier writing, more easily accessible characters, and has been marketed much more heavily than Lord of the Rings ever was. Gone are the days of eating Cheetos in your mother's basement while rolling fistfuls of brightly colored dice as you page eagerly through your scandalous copy of the Monster Manual as you look up the statistics on devils and demons like Asmodeus and Demogorgon, all the while laughing because there's some religious group saying that Dungeons & Dragons is Satanic and causes kids to commit suicide and TSR would never, ever remove devils from the rulebooks, would they?

Oh, wait. They would.

Of course, they put them back, but devils or no devils, today's Dungeons & Dragons is obviously heavily influenced by Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering, with young sorcerers firing off spells as people perform incredible Feats of strength. Certainly, there's a dark element there (the leather bondage gear equipment, for example), but for the most part it's a more family friendly game, as befits Hasbro, which owns the whole shebang at this point. Fantasy isn't what it used to be. Tolkien himself said that Lord of the Rings is about death, and that's not what today's audience is looking for. They want smart, cute little wizards flying around on broomsticks. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, mind. But it's a definite change.

So enjoy your Lord of the Rings movies. Enjoy your Tolkien. Dust off your old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons modules and think fondly of the days when you could walk through hell on your way to the slaver's stockade, or battle flaming demons on narrow stone bridges in dank, corpse-filled mines. Just don't expect the world to do it with you. The days of Middle Earth are long gone. But there's no need to fret. Gandalf and the elves may have sailed off to other lands, but we've still got Dumbledore. There'll always be room for fantasy. It's just a question of how much room.

Time will tell.

While this movie is long, I personally wanted it longer. It felt too rushed, that too much was condensed into too short a time. At the same time it was too much too all take in at once.

Maybe it needed to be two 2 hour movies, but that would have made the ending points more blurry. At any rate, I will have to watch it again, just to decide if I real like it. I know it's cool, and I know I liked the book, but I still don't know if I liked the movie, but I very much look forward to the DVD directors cut, which I hope weighs in at a hefty four hours.

I also can't wait till next year, when two Towers comes out. More than anything, I can't wait until 3 or 4 years time, when I'll hopefully be able to watch all 3, 4 hour directors cut movies back to back for the biggest, coolest, most amazing cult marathon movie experience in history. THAT'S what this Trilogy of movies is going to be about.

I didn't go see the movie yet. Surprised the hell out of my wife by not insisting to be there at the first show of the first night. I can't say that I really hated Bakshi's version, but it's definitely made me wary of any version. However, Aeon's review gives me hope.

Tolkein DID have a problem of getting to the point. While I would have liked to see the Barrow Wights, as well some of the other mini-adventures that occur between Bag's End and Moria, I'm not going to cry foul either. Now I can go to the film and hopefully come away happy and pleased.

Well I can't wait to see the movie tonight.

On of my 2 D&D tables is on thursdays, we put it on pause and are going to the movie instead.

Aeon and Caliban give me hope that I'll be thrilled by it.

And I too cannot wait for the LotR movie marathons in... 2005?

Well I'll be back with my comments on friday.

C ya all at the movies

Not to say I told you so, but...

Tolkien toys taking backseat among holiday shoppers

At FAO Schwarz in downtown San Francisco... Melissa Mohler and her children, Makaiah, 7, and Taysa, 5, were looking at "Harry Potter" items, namely a Hagrid figure and a Christmas ornament with Harry's picture on it.

In the same store was a display for "Lord of the Rings," but at this early date -- before the film's release -- it wasn't attracting much interest.... Mohler wasn't planning to take her kids to see "Lord of the Rings," because she was worried it might be too dark. So she wasn't interested in the "Lord of the Rings" toys.

Wow, could you *be* a bigger geek?

J/K :)

Yeah, well...who wants LotR toys anyway? "Buy your Frodo action figure, and re-enact that part in the movie where...oh, wait, Frodo just gets the crap kicked out of him for three hours." I, for one, am glad LotR isn't going to be successful at a modern-day marketing deluge. The only way LotR toys would be cool was if they were done the same way the original Star Wars toys were: by making every freaking jag-off worthless peripheral character in the movie. If you could buy every half-wit in the Shire, everyone at the Council in Rivendell, Isildur, Galadriel, Magical Light-Being with Booming Voice Galadriel, everyone else in Lothlorien, seven varieties of Orc, and so on...THEN it would be worth having the toys. Otherwise, I think it best that it's aimed at a different audience. Harry Potter mites want to re-create their favorite wizard's exploits with Harry's wand and Harry's broom and playsets. LotR fans created a game with several thousand pages worth of rules and regulations requiring nothing but a ridiculously overactive imagination so they could LIVE in Middle Earth and create new adventures for themselves. LotR toys are almost a condescension. These aren't books (or movies) for children who need cheap plastic toys to entertain themselves.

Well Aeon, it is good to see a review from you for LotR.
Of course, I have been planning on seeing this movie since
I found out WETA effects had begun making the props. After the
dismal, soul-melting, across the board failure of Dungeons & Dragons, the movie, I
was sort of ambivalent about even watching another new fantasy movie...
Just in case there were other ways of royally screwing up a film just waiting
to present themselves. Yes, I honestly feared that LotR was going to be next on the
big bust list. So it is good to see yet another positive review from someone
with similar tastes and attitudes.

I'll probably go to a midday showing, in about a week or so. I will try and time
it with inclement weather, so it's only me and three diehard, rabid fanboys in the
theater when the lights dim...

When I was 12, it was my mom who gave me "The Hobbit" for my birthday (or was it Christmas? I forget). I read it and was enthralled. I then took up the challenge of reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy over the next couple of years, and, well, I gave up somewhere around the last half of the "The Twin Towers".

Now I'm older, and it's been over a decade since I've thought about picking up those books again. After watching the movie, I feel guilty for not even trying. So, sometime over this weekend, I'm heading ot the nearest bookstore to pick up all three.

This time, I don't think I will give up.

excellent writeup!

I saw this movie for a second time today.
And I can tell you now, that this movie is great.
I wasn't sure the first time around. It was too much to absorb the first time. I didn't know if I was just getting into it because of my love of Fantasy, or because I had read the Fellowship just a month before, or I had been waiting so long to see it.

Seeing it a second time I discovered the magic didn't diminish. I got dragged in just like the first time, it stopped my overanalytical mind dead in it's track and caught me in the magic.

It was actually BETTER the second time around. With the visuals not fore front in my mind (as it was the first time being an intensely visual film, but the second time round I knew more or less what to expect) I got a chance to focus more on the characters. This time it made me shed a tear, which is very rare for me in movies. And has never happened the second time I have seen a movie.

So now, I at least know that I love this movie. And I still want to see it again. Maybe next time I will figure out WHY I love this movie. But for now it is a wonderful, magnificent and amazing mystery.

I saw the movie last night, and I must say that I'm sooo disapointed! Peter Jackson, what in heavens name have You done? I'm not gonna see the other two films, that's for sure. When I red the for the fist time (13 years old), I fell in love with Galadriel. The Peter Jackson version of the Elven Queen is just sad. So sad.

Excuse me, Mag- You're dumping on the movie because Peter Jackson cast someone you didn't expect? No offense, but that's the stupidest reason I've EVER heard.

Dump on it because they cut the Barrow-Wight scene.
Dump on it because they made Arwen into XenArwen: Elven Princess.
Hell, dump on it because the Hobbits aren't fat enough.

But don't dump on it just because you didn't agree with the casting of ONE character.

Aeon, great write-up.. I'm going to enjoy seeing it Sunday.
Truthless- I have to totally agree with you there.. See you at the tables. *G*
And Dave- Heh, don't worry.. I had to dust off The Trilogy myself to read it before the movies came out, and I'm still only three chapters into Two Towers.

I have heard many comments on Galadriel, and I'd just like to say in my opinion Galadriel was done fine. Firstly, how exactly does ANYONE personify the perfection some people seem to believe Galadriel represents (like the above poster)?
Secondly, Galadriel was meant to turn both 'terrible and beautiful' at the moment when Frodo offered her the ring. This representation in the film seems correct according to the words written in the Book.

The problem seems to occur when we don't get enough screen time afterwards to see the gentler side. This is a problem with the time constraints imposed on the movie. I am sure that in the directors cut she will get the screen time she needs to show both sides. But the core aim of the film appears to be the evilness of the ring, and it's affect on Frodo and everyone around him, and how he and they must overcome it.

Obviously if you were dissapointed with the movie though, Galadriel can't have been your only problem. But I think many people might walk into the movie with too high expectations. It's not going to be the Lord of the Rings that you choose to remember, it's the Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson chose too, and was capable of, envisioning on the screen. As such people should be careful about examining them as too seperate things. Afterall, fans have discussed and argued over how each views Tolkiens writings since the book was released, and Jackson just happens to be another fan with the guts and talent (no matter what you dislike, you have to admire the work, effort and sheer determination required to get the film made) to try and do a live action version of HIS vision of the world Tolkien created.

I guess I am lucky, his vision comes pretty close to mine, so I am happy.


And damn proud of it.

"Dust off your old Advanced Dungeons & Dragons modules and think fondly of the days when you could walk through hell on your way to the slaver's stockade, or battle flaming demons on narrow stone bridges in dank, corpse-filled mines. Just don't expect the world to do it with you."

Uhm, have we EVER expected the world to do this with us? I never expected LOTR to gain anything even remotely like universal acceptance, and the fact that the films got made at all is something of a miracle to me.

Comparing LOTR to Harry Potter is like asking who's better, Jesus or Buddha. It's a question that makes no sense. They appeal to two distinct sets. There may be overlap, but that overlap isn't to be taken for granted. I think of HP as generated for the masses, while LOTR is pretty much for "us" - the "us" being those who would care for such a thing, and who are used to doing what we like whether the general public approves or not. If some of the mainstreamers wind up liking LOTR too, woo hoo, fringe benefit. Not to be counted upon, though.

By the way, I saw the film twice in two nights, and am in love with it.

Sorry, but I didnt like it as much as you did, obviously.

"Was it a good film? Absolutely. One of the best of the year. One of the best I've ever seen."

Not really. I don't know what it was, but it really didn't flow as well as any other movie I've seen. It's like he had to do the movie all in one night, and so he crammed in as much of the book as he thought suitable, and then added his own series of action-filled events. The action was great, and he did manage to sum up most of the story, but he just didn't do it all that well.

And I do think the whole series of events with Galadriel was just poorly put together. It didn't really seem as mystical as when I read it in the book.

Sorry, but definitely not the best movie I've seen. Go watch Gladiator. Or the Star wars trilogy (not including Episode 1). Or The Matrix.

Gladiator, the Star Wars trilogy (not including Episode 1) and The Matrix are also among my favorites. You have taste. You will be a Jedi yet.

I respect and fully understand your criticism, hey, we're Americans.. Just 'cause 95% of the planet likes something dosen't mean the other 5% have to go in like sheep. (Basically saying that you're ok 'cause unlike Magnus, you gave an intelligent reason for your dislike)

And gotta agree with Aeon .. Episode One should never have been made; at least not THAT way anyway.... My fav thoery as to what happened can be read in the December issue of Inquest- that Gene Roddenberry (yay!) posessed George Lucas to drive Star Wars into the ground to Star Trek could be the #1 franchise again.

Well Im for one glad that they made tlotr, maybe it'll start a fantasy hype again, that would make my day. Of course that would mean you'd get stuff like Willow 2002 and the last unicorn 2... and mind me saying so, but they will crap up those movies by putting shite ideas in it, written in the limo to the studio.
Hmmm.. better it not becomes a hype then.. hmm

With tlotr I missed some mindsweeping music though, something like in the dark crystal, but what the he shit happens every day.

IMO, LotR was VERY well done. Peter Jackson's vision certainly won't be the same as that of anyone else, but I think he did a darn good job with it. Here's why...

My father (now nearly 60) is a bigger LotR freak than I am, and I think he made an excellent point when he commented to me after the movie, "some of the deviations from the book actually improved on the story - that is the sign of a good movie." Yet at the same time, some of the classic lines that everyone expects remain ("Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time!").

MINOR SPOILER WARNING: For a specific (short) example, take a look at the introduction of Merry and Pippin into the story (playing with Gandalf's fireworks - or even that particular firework itself). It quickly establishes the character of Merry and Pippin and brings them into the action in a very harmless way - but it sets up nicely their antics through the remainder of the film. I won't bring up other examples for fear of spoiling.

When everyone knows a story and you can still inject new elements into it that do not detract from the story, IMO, it is a successful venture. Of course parts were cut out. Of course some characters had their roles expanded. But for all the talk I heard about "Arwen's role was greatly expanded," I might point out that she got a whole, what, 8 minutes of screen time? Merging her character with Glorfindel for the movie in the interest of saving time (and giving the audience fewer characters to keep track of) was, I think, a good idea given the medium (movies), where you have less time to develop a character.

Definitely much better than the Bakshi version (and I liked the Bakshi version's storytelling, though the quality of art/rotoscoping left much to be desired).

Was it perfect? Goodness no (the depiction of Sauron in physical form was, I felt, disappointing, though the Eye of Sauron was terrific).

IMO, for those who are knowledgeable Tolkien fans, given the creative strictures of the movie medium (including movie length), this movie was superb. For those who are not Tolkien fans or are unwilling to accept compromise to the story in order to make it fit the medium, it was merely great.

***But*** I temper this reaction by saying the same thing I said of Star Wars Episode I (which was mediocre at best) - it will be impossible to properly judge the movie in its full context until the remainder of the trilogy is out (who knows, once Episodes II and III are out, Episode I may not look so bad after all - some of the things we didn't like may have been necessary to include later plot twists in II and III, for example). Fellowship is a little easier (because unlike SW, we KNOW the rest of the story) to judge immediately, but I will reserve my ultimate judgement of "success or failure" in adapting Tolkien's work until after I have seen Return of the King. It's really the only way to fairly do it.

Anyone who has seen the BBC version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will know what I'm talking about - the thing seems quite disjointed and sometimes stupid for ten episodes - then the last episode miraculously pulls every single stupid, disjointed thing together and makes you go, "oh, now I see why that's in there" and you have to watch it again to get the full effect. Perhaps LotR and SW both will be like that. I'm not holding my breath, but since I have seen it done before, I know it CAN be done.

--The Sigil

Great Write-up.

One small problem, I think Sauraman is responsible for creating orcs that could travel in daylight by crossbreeding 'em w/goblins. It's a small point in Tolkien's book and enlarged in the movie as you say.

Another great review should be read here:

Enjoy the movie.

The Uruk-Hai are definitely associated with Saruman in some way in the book, but the movie goes into much, much more vivid detail about the fact that he was actively creating the things.

Never read the books,just tagged along with my 15yr old daughter. I enjoyed it,alot more to it then Harry Potter. Potter was boring...........

I was very disapointed in the LOTR the movie. I had read rumors that there were some minor character changes, and I told myself to be prepared for it, so I could enjoy the rest of the movie. But it seemed like every 2-4 mins they had a "modification" to the book.
Making Arwen into a femeherogirlelvpower chick was a joke. It was completely unneccessary. It hurt the movie. And the telekenetic wizard fighting scene. Funny. Sad. It defeated the purpose, and was just confusing. Nothing like the book whatsoever. And they cut out Sauramon declaring that he is no longer the white wizard but now "Sauromon of many colors" (were they afraid that it would come off as racist or something?" And why did they make him be the one that caused the snowstorm?
And what were they thinking with Aragorn? He was always full of dignity, and wasn't afraid of the kingship, he was just modest, and humble, and heroic. Not afraid of it.
And then there's the dialogue. They left out some of the best parts, and added in new conversatitions that weren't even in the book. How could they possibly leave out the disscussion between the hobbits, where Sam is questioning Stryders inegrity, and Frodo repsonds with the idea that if Stryder was the enemy he would look better but seem fouler. Stryder replies to them, "Whereas I seem fair but look foul?" The movie just sluffed it off with the hobbits saying I don't know if we can trust him. (not to mention that they said this when they were going through a swampy area on the way to riven dell, and in the book, the hobbits were already developing a strong rapport with Stryder by this point.
And when they were entering Moria, and Gandalf was trying to open the doors, Frodo had nothing to do with it. Indeed that was supposed to be a humerous scene but it just turned into a confusing one.
Major things they cut:
1. Frodo selling Bag end and buying a House in Buckland
2. The old Forrest, and Tom Bombadil
3. Sauramon becoming of Many colors (a major plot point, defining the comprising of virtue a major theme of the book.)
4. Bill ferny, and the pony Bill.
5. The gifts of Galadriel.
6. Frodo fleeing the black riders by himself.
7. Meaningful diaglogue, and Tolkien humor.
Things that they added to the movie:
1. XenArwen
2. The telkraptic fight between wizards
3. Innacurately overdeveloping Sauraman's character, i.e. him causing the the storm on the mountain
4. The fight scene in Moria. Nothing like that. They spoiled the essence of that part of the book.
5. The shards of narsil in Rivendell, and the scenes of Stryder being afraid of Kingship.

They should have stayed true to the book and left out all the shite that they added in. What a waste of 90 million. Ralph Bakshi's cartoon was a thousand times better.

1. Frodo selling Bag end and buying a House in Buckland

Boring. This would be about as exciting as a movie about interstellar trade disputes.

2. The old Forrest, and Tom Bombadil

Tom is an entirely unnecessary character and deserved to be left out. Nothing happens in that section of the book that influences anything that happens thereafter.

3. Sauramon becoming of Many colors (a major plot point, defining the
comprising of virtue a major theme of the book.)

The major plot point is Saruman becoming evil, not Saruman changing colors.

4. Bill ferny, and the pony Bill.

Entirely hokey and unnecessary for a film.

5. The gifts of Galadriel.

Too confusing. The whole "box of dirt" thing has nothing to do with the main story arc.

6. Frodo fleeing the black riders by himself.

Arguable. I don't think this diminished anything.

7. Meaningful diaglogue, and Tolkien humor.

All dialogue in a book is meaningful. In translation to film most of it must be cut. That's just the way it works.

Things that they added to the movie:

1. XenArwen

If they hadn't then people would complain that there was no strong female character. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Her character development was necessary in the film to explain to viewers why and how she and Aragorn hooked up. The films don't have the benefit of a lengthy appendix.

2. The telkraptic fight between wizards

I agree it could have been done better, but what would you rather have, fireballs and magic missiles?

3. Innacurately overdeveloping Sauraman's character, i.e. him causing the
the storm on the mountain

Amalgamating characters is essential in a movie. Tolkien had too many separate characters that appear once and never again. This was one of his flaws as a writer.

4. The fight scene in Moria. Nothing like that. They spoiled the essence of
that part of the book.

I think the fight scene was the most brilliantly done fantasy fight scene I've ever seen. I don't understand your gripe. Sour grapes.

5. The shards of narsil in Rivendell, and the scenes of Stryder being afraid
of Kingship.

The story is ultimately about people, and paying undue attention to a broken sword in the film would have detracted from that.

Ultimately, the film fixes a number of problems with Tolkien's original story. The book is too long, too tangled, has too many bit characters and too many long pointless journies and long pointless conversations. If they'd kept everything the film would be six hours long and only Tolkien fanatics would be sitting there watching it. By doing what they did, they made the film more accessible to all. And they improved the story at the same time.

Well, I'm freshly back from seeing the movie, and rather invigorated. The movie has restored my faith in the potential for quality fantasy genre cinema. I am also happy I stayed away from the books for the last five years. (I didn't walk into the theatre expecting anything.) This movie is too good to be hacked on by hardcore fans. Why not sit back, breathe slowly and calm yourself.

Aeon: I agree, the Moria combat scene is just the most neatest bestest combat sequence I've seen in any fantasy film.

Daegedda, read it again. The shards of Narsil were kept in Rivendell. The sword was reforged there for Aragorn to carry with him on the quest.

I fully disagree with you who claim the books were somehow too long or couldn't get to their point. They were so finely and exquisitely crafted, the reader is welcomed to immerse themself in a multifaceted and intriguing world. The books are far too short if you ask me.

I reread the entire trilogy prior to the movies opening, along with the Hobbit and the Silmarillion. It had been fifteen or so years since I had read them. I remembered liking them before, but this was like reading them for the first time. They still surprised me.

And yet despite all its differences, I loved this movie too. I saw it three times in its first three days. I'd like to see it again. I fully agree with Caliban. I too liked it even better the second time. And the third time I was still caught up in the suspense of the flight through Moria and the battle above the Fall of Rauros. It was just well done. There was nothing to bore me.

I would never say the books should be more like the movie, but I certainly appreciate the movies freedom to differ from the books. I mean it was done skillfully and with care. For example, the bit with Arwen rushing Frodo to safety in Rivendell was obviously manufactured for the film. But once the black riders are swept away and Arwen is crying over Frodo as he appears to be overcome by his wound, the dialogue given to her really strikes deep. She says "what Grace has given me, let it pass to him." Awesome! I didn't even understand this the first two times I saw the film. It seemed weird and weak to me. But the third time it shocked and moved me. She is half-elven, with the gift of immortality, but she forsakes this for her love for Aragorn, and (as all who have read the trilogy already know) Frodo sails to the West. So this bit of dialogue, which did not exist in the book, I say is brilliant.

The book and the movie are two different works! It would be best to say the movie is inspired by the book, but isn't an identical work. All my criticism of the movie would stem from the differences between it and the book. But I think it is a fine fantasy film, one of the very finest! But I must admit too that my deep deep appreciation of the movie also directly flows from my love of the book. The two are related, but please take the good, and try to realize the bad isn't that bad. It's just different, and pretty good in it's own right!

Anyone else get a kick out of the way the actual chapter titles from the Fellowship of the Ring, and even one from the Hobbit, are incorporated into the dialogue? (A Long Expected Party, Riddles In The Dark, A Shortcut To Mushrooms, Drums in the Deep, etc...)

And the telling of the tale of Isildur and the losing of the ring... Bravo! Seeing Sauron confronting the armies of men and elves and scattering them with his mace was riveting!

My biggest complaint is that I can't watch Elrond speak with out seeing Agent Smith sneering, "Mr Anderson..." Ah well,

I for one am having a difficult time waiting till December 2002...

Good writeup.
The very idea that I liked FOTR as much as I do is a testament to it's superior craft. Disjoint in points? Absolutely, but at the very least it should scare some people into reading the amazing story.

In light of the huge pressures associated with this particular production, not the least of which being Jackson's own fanatical devotion to TLOTR, I have to call it the greatest adaption of story to celluloid I've seen: I've read and seen an irresponsible number of things.

I personally enjoyed the movie to the point were I am actually going to start Roleplaying again, it has been 2 years since I dusted off the old books, and this movie gave me a kick in the pants

I do agree though the wizards did seem a bit under powered, but in LOTR and other books, they really never do anything that truly flashy.

thats my 2 cents

Just a few points:

A book can fully develop characters, past histories, etc through tools such as internal dialogue, etc. A film can't. David Lynch's "Dune" tried to aproximate this using voice overs... and it didn't fly too well.

2. No movie's special effects or director's vision can compare to your very own, extra special personal :-) imagination.

The best a movie can do is to tell the story in its, unique way, even if it meant detractring from the book in some points. Case in point: David Lynch's "Dune" were faithful to the book, while "Blade Runner" took a few... well, okay, a lot of, liberties with the book. Yet "Blade Runner" is widely considered to be a better film than "Dune."

Earlier today I went to see The Fellowship of the Ring, and in my humble opinion, it is one of the best, if not THE best, movies I have ever seen!!! I went to see it with no preconceived expectations other than it should be pretty good ... and came out completely blown away! It was f--cking unreal.

I wont review the whole thing scene by scene but to those who didn't like Galadrial ... are you nucking futs???!!! She was bloody excellent. The moment when Frodo offered her the ring was one of the most powerful moments in the whole movie!

And for those who have problems with the deviations from the book, try and think of the story of the Fellowship as true - just told slighty differently, first by an English Professor of Anglo-Saxon and then by a story-smith from New Zealand. After all, Monmouth wasn't the only one to tell the tales of King Arthur.

After watching a movie I usually come out with a few niggles; 'that was great, but ....' Not this time. As far as I am concerned, only the most pathetic and small-minded Tolkien fanatics wouldn't enjoy FotR. I agree with Gray Ninja; 'sit back, breathe slowly and calm yourself.' Stop being so precioussss.

I for one cannot wait for The Two Towers to be released.


I may flame with you on other forums, Tas, but I'm 100% with you on this one. ;-)

Again, the major gripe I see coming from the Tolkien super-die-hards is that the movie deviated at all from the book. I would again remind them that the media are VASTLY different and it would be impossible to create a movie which precisely follows the book unless you were prepared to create a 15-hour movie.

Again, look at the medium - a 500+ page book condensed to a 3-hour movie. That's roughly 3 pages per minute. Even the most optimistic among you couldn't hope to cram three pages' worth of dialogue into one minute of screen time. :-)

I also agree with aeon's point that some amalgomating of characters is necessary. While a reader can go back over a text and figure out who fits where when there are a lot of characters, a movie-goer has no such luxury. You have to economize slightly and cut down the sheer number of characters or everything gets lost.

For a perfect example, look at the Rankin-Bass version of the Hobbit. The person who sees the film once will be able to recognize who Bilbo is, who Gollum is, who Gandalf is, and who Thorin is. Probably they will be able to tell Bombur and Balin from the rest of the dwarves (the fat one and the one that talked almost as much as Thorin). But will they ge able to tell you about Bifur and Bofor, Oin and Gloin, Fili and Kili? No. Why not? Because only three of the dwarves (Thorin, Balin, and Bombur) get enough development.

Heck, Bakshi amalgomated Glorfindel and Legolas for the same reason. In making a movie, you have to recognize that time constraints give you the ability to develop only a limited number of characters. The amalgomations are, for the most part, consistent (i.e., you didn't see Gimli's character take the place of Celeborn but you did see Arwen take the place of Glorfindel, otherwise known as Stock Elf 3).

This is the thing that a movie director must decide - which characters are "cardboard cutouts" as far as telling the story goes?

Obviously, the nine members of the Fellowship are not, because the latter half of the story is all about their interaction. Elrond isn't because you need to establish him as respected and powerful enough to call a conference and commission the Fellowship in the first place (and so featuring him in command of the elves during the initial fight vs. Sauron is a nice touch that immediately establishes his importance).

Galadriel, as a Ring-Bearer and as the one who spurs Frodo on and gives him some of the tools he needs later, must be developed somewhat, and IMO, her part, though slightly changed and diminished, was well done - I loved the way she seemed to be learning something about herself (and was relieved) when struggles with accepting the One Ring, finally declines, then she whispers, "I passed the test." This is a moment of self-discovery for her. Much better than the pretentious Galadriel in Bakshi's version, even if Samwise looking in the mirror is removed. What Sam sees, ultimately, is not that important. What Frodo sees is.

We need an arch-enemy, and Sauron, as the Lidless Eye Wreathed in Flame, is very well established. Unfortunately, there's only so much expression a flaming eye can give us, so much of the "expression" of the arch-enemy is of necessity shunted onto Sauruman. And why not? At this point in the story, he is, after all, Sauron's number one henchman (because others haven't been introduced yet). Already, we see that Sauruman's role must be expanded.

And finally, of course, you must have Gollum and Bilbo - Bilbo establishes continuity from the Hobbit and of course Gollum still "has a part to play for good or evil." I won't spoil it for anyone who doesn't know what Gollum's eventual destiny is (though I expect everyone here already knows).

We're already at 15 characters that have to be developed (some more than others). That's no easy task.

Now, are there any other characters whose parts are absolutely crucial to telling the story that they must be preserved intact? The answer is no - they are not really characters, but tools and plot devices that move the story from point to point. This means that all other characters are basically expendable and can be swapped, changed, combined, and otherwise mixed in the interest of the story.

Is the Lord of the Eagles' role developed? No. For all the casual movie-goer knows, that was just a bird Gandalf summoned. Arwen/Glorfindel combined? Doesn't really matter. Glorfindel was simply a bridge to get the hobbits and Aragorn into Rivendell. You get the idea.

Stop complaining that this wasn't "your" idea of what FotR should be. It followed the original pretty well, and the deviations are in large part forced by the change in medium from paper to celluloid. I think Jackson did a marvelous job, given the constraints of both the medium and the die-hard Tolkien fans. My complaints are mostly stylistic (I think Sauron in the opening looks like a bad Power Rangers enemy and the hobbits are not fat enough). But these did not really detract much from the movie for me (especially not the hobbits). Was this precisely the movie I would have made if I were the director? Probably not. Was it faithful to the themes, general plot line, and story arc of the original book? Very much so. Minor deviations are expected for reasons already explained.

And I agree with the rebuttals presented - Sauruman changing from "the White" to "the Multicolored" was not the point - the point was he gave himself to evil. The label he used was not the important thing (and I don't think it was done out of political correctness, either - Gandalf, the epitome of Good Wizard, is called "Gandalf the Grey" so the color heirarchy scheme of the Wizardly Order does show up a bit).

I hear complaints that Arwen's role was expanded. Again, she gets maybe 8 minutes of screen time, most of it shared with Aragorn and Frodo anyway - she helps develop their characters as much as her own character is developed.

I don't hear people mourning the loss of Celeborn (who doesn't even appear in the movie - at least he got a token reference in Bakshi's). So I gather the only reason people are upset that Tom Bombadil is that people liked his character more than Celeborn's and NOT out of any particular desire to "keep the story pure." In other words, it's hypocrisy and goes back to "you didn't do it the way *I* wanted it done" instead of you "you didn't do it the way it ought to have been done."

There are many ways a movie "ought to be done" and this movie DID use one of those ways. That it didn't pick the one "I wanted to be done" is immaterial.

--The Sigil

The truth is people DON'T see everything that is in the movie the first time round. People say the Stone Trolls aren't there, well THEY ARE. It's just in the background when Arwen meets up with the Fellowship, I myself missed it the first time.

Sigil just said Celeborn isn't there. Well he IS, when they first meet Galadriel. He is cut down to one line, but he is there.

Then people complain about stuff that ISN'T actually in the movies. Like Lurtz. Lurtz isn't a character, he doesn't even get his named mentioned on screen, he is just a name Uruk captain who is a bit harder than the rest? What's the big deal, he could have been in the story but the truth is that Tolkien wrote NO action scenes.

The only REASON people have this dramatic and amazing imagery of action in their head with regards to Tolkien is because they were forced to imagine it all themselves. For heavens sake he spends more time describing the direction they are headed in relation to the terrain than what they are actually doing there!

What you see on screen is an 'imagining' of the Lord of the Rings. When Gandalf said he was delayed at Orthanc, Tolkien never explained how he was delayed so it's ridiculous to complain that Jackson did wrong by Tolkien, or added things in unnessecarily. It's necessary to delay Gandalf, and it's necessary to show how he's delayed or you are leaving the audience going "Oi what? Why isn't Gandalf at the Prancing Pony!".

You see there is this thing could Dramatic Irony, letting the audience in on more than the characters do. It doesn't happen much in books unless they have an overly eye of god style narrative, but it is used a heck of a lot on stage and screen because it condenses time and builds suspense.

To me, the only obvious flaw with Jackson's interpretation is one imposed by the studios, and by the ridiculously short attention span of todays punter. This movie deserved to be 4 hours long. It's obvious to anyone who bothers to look that they had enough footage to make it four hours long, that they probably had too much footage and that's why the editing seems a little choppy in places.

The directors cut will make everything much better for the whiney fans I am sure, but at least this movie has also succeeded with the general public, despite it being labelled as a time length well above the average joes attention span.

The only other problem I have seen about the movie which I felt was valid, other than one of length (too short, I don't count too long as valid because frankly I am startled with the lack of attention span out there), was the ending. And no one can blame Mr Jackson for the ending, he did his best to bring it to a point where there was at least SOME pay off for the audience (and in fact created a pretty wicked climatic fight scene with Lurtz that got spontaneous applause both times I saw the movie). That's a heck of a lot more than Tolkien ever did. Heck by the end of the Fellowship of the Ring the book, Boromir hadn't even redeemed himself!

Overall, this movie certainly isn't the best I have ever seen. But I say that knowing that I may change my mind if the directors cut is edited a little better and includes a few more pauses for breath. But the truth is, in terms of the story he was working with (and this will get me flamed) Jackson did his best to turn bronze into gold.

From a critical stand point the success of Tolkien has always been an enigma, to himself, to his peers and often even to his fans.

Equally, the success of the movies appears to me like an enigma. I know they are enjoyable, I know that people are willing to see them despite their length in this all too impatient world, and I know that the majority of the fans of Tolkien have enjoyed them.

But for the life of me I don't really know why, other than that you can FEEL the amount of love and dedication that went to putting these things on screen, just as you could FEEL the amount of love and dedication Tolkien used to create a world in which his languages could and should exist, and in this pre packaged, single serving quick fix world that is a rare and priceless commodity.

On December 22, 2001 8:42 PM, daegedda said:
"Ralph Bakshi's cartoon was a thousand times better."

Let me compare Peter Jackson's version to Bakshi's version on each of your points....

Major things they cut:
1. Frodo selling Bag end and buying a House in Buckland

Cut in both the Bakshi and Jackson version. And, as a previous poster has suggested, who wants to watch a haggling scene? No significant differences between the versions here.

2. The old Forrest, and Tom Bombadil

Cut in both the Bakshi and Jackson versions. An interesting detour perhaps, but NOT necessary in any way to the central storyline. No significant differences here.

3. Sauramon becoming of Many colors (a major plot point, defining the comprising of virtue a major theme of the book.)

Compromising of virtue is certainly symbolized by "changing colors." However, the point is the virtue compromise. Bakshi has the "changing colors" portion but does not develop the "compromising virtue" to the same degree Jackson does. I think both did it in a different manner - and I found Jackson's depiction of Saurumon's compromise much better because it shows more of his depredations.

4. Bill ferny, and the pony Bill.

Bill the pony shows up in both versions, though in both cases without Bill Ferny. Difference? In Bakshi's Bill is eaten by the tentacled monster in the lake, in Jackson's he is not. Big deal. No real differences here between the two.

5. The gifts of Galadriel.

Very minor in both Bakshi and Jackson's, though Jackson's giving seems a little clearer. No significant differences between the versions here.

6. Frodo fleeing the black riders by himself.

I presume you mean after his wound and on the way to Rivendell - the difference is that in the Jackson version, Arwen is with him. This is different but not does not make for a truly significant difference in the story.

7. Meaningful diaglogue, and Tolkien humor.

Please define "meaningful dialogue and Tolkien humor." Both picked different parts to keep and to cut. I can't really give you this one, either - the dialogue in both was mostly calculated to tell the story and/or develop the characters.

Things that they added to the movie:

1. XenArwen

Difference is that Jackson replaced Glorfindel with Arwen while Bakshi replaced Glorfindel with Legolas. Big deal. Glorfindel was obviously a "bridge character" who served no purpose other than to get the group to Rivendell quicker - a role that could be taken by ANY elf.

2. The telkraptic fight between wizards

You prefer Bakshi's version, where Sauruman waves his hand and Gandalf is surrounded by psychedelic lights? I would have preferred to see a Fin Razel/Bavmorda (Willow) type of fight (fire, ice, stone, lightning, polymorphing, and telekinetcs) but this did the job. Neither movie scored big on this one for me, so I can't give Bakshi or Jackson the edge here. The edge goes instead to Willow. ;-)

3. Innacurately overdeveloping Sauraman's character, i.e. him causing the the storm on the mountain

Again, this goes back to "putting a face on evil." The presence of Sauruman is needed in FotR while he seems almost an accessory character in Bakshi. No points either way - it's merely a difference in goals for the character development.

4. The fight scene in Moria. Nothing like that. They spoiled the essence of that part of the book.

WTF? Jackson's portrayal makes more sense spatially and I think does a better job. This is completely a matter of taste. No points here.

5. The shards of narsil in Rivendell, and the scenes of Stryder being afraid of Kingship.

Humility? Methinks you have read more into Aragorn than there was in the books.

IOW, if these are your complaint points and you are trying to convince me that Bakshi's version was better, you picked appallingly poor examples.

--The Sigil

Um, what's going on here? Sigil and I are actually agreeing on something?! ;)

I have to return to the issue of Galadriel again. One of the features of the movie is the portrayal of the urgency and gravity of the mission (even now the dark hand of Sauron is coming, coming ...) There just wasn't enough time in the movie (or in Middle Earth for that matter) for Galadriel to develop her touchy-feely side - although it WAS still there. The Fellowship had to keep moving lest all would be lost! That sense of foreboding and dread, IMO, was one of the movie's strengths.

Oh, and if you're male and don't have the hots for Cate Blanchett you must be dead from the neck up ;)

I must also say something about Arwen. What's all this crap about XenArwen?? No war cries were uttered. No lesbian innuendo was to be heard. No arses were kicked. No shakrams (whatever they're called) were thrown. No swords were swung. No violence whatsoever. Sheesh. Arwen merely whisked Frodo to Rivendell, rather than Glorfindel, and showed a bit of spirit in the face of the Ringwraiths whilst doing so - and as Sigil alluded to, all well within the abilities of ANY self respecting elf. The whole sequence was fantastic.

For god sake, don't psychoanalyse every minute detail. Sure, we all could sit down and write a list of the deviations from the book (BTW, I agree with Sigil about the necessity of doing so), or the parts that WE, as individuals, imagined differently. But if we analyse it to closely, the Fellowship of the Ring - the movie - just becomes some coloured images flickering on a big wall.

I guess I was lucky. I haven't read the books for some years, so I know the broad sweep of the story, I know the characters, and I know the world of Middle Earth (from my much more recent readings of the Hobbit - which I love - and from my distant days of playing MERP), *BUT* I don't remember the detail of every scene and every piece of dialogue from LotR. Therefore, I can sit back and enjoy the thing without bitching.

BTW, Sigil, I thought the Sauraman/Gandalf battle was how it should be - Tolkien's wizards never were flashy ... oh well, I guess we had to disagree on *something* otherwise it just ain't natural ;) Seriously tho, my gushing response to the movie is highly unusual. I have never enjoyed ANY movie as much as I enjoyed the Fellowship. I feel sorry for those of you who didn't seem to enjoy it as much as me.


The movie, itself was great. Yeah there were a boat load of things done differently in the film versus the novel, however it was still a good movie. It was still good to see nazgul, the fellowship, and the balrog on film.

I eagerly look forward to the next few installments of the series. The Ents are gonna rock, etc.

Its also somewhat 'boosted' my interest in roleplaying. As of late I felt its become a bit stagnant, but after watching it, I'm damn anxious to play the next gaming session in our campaign. I'm even ready to write some more on the campaign I was running that I was about to let end.

Peter Jackson is the man...just look at dead alive ;)

Overall, I thought it was very,very well done. It wasn't exactly like I envisioned it, but I wasn't expecting it.
2 small comments, though..

1) Elrond: He came off a bit to arrogant for my taste. I suppose I put a "kindler, gentler elf" slant to the character when I read the book, but (IMHO) he almost seemed to be snearing at everyone in the movie..

2) Frodo: In the book, he seems (at least to me) much more of a fighter. (ex: The fight on Weathertop, plus the defiance at the ford. Both missing/changed in the movie.) He seemed to be played as a wimp being carried along by circumstances, rather then a scared hobbit who does what he has to do. Perhaps it was done this way so he can transform in the next 2 movies: I hope so.

Both of these are VERY MINOR points though - all in all, it get's multiple thumb's up!


Isn't that one of the signs of the apocalypse? ;)

Anyway, this should be many little posts but it won't.

I waited to see the movie 3 times (once in french for my girlfriend's benefit) and then I let it sink in before I made comments.

WOW! I'm sorry if I sound like I'm a sheep, after all I did like D&D 3E, right Tas ;)

I read some of the criticism for the movie and I think it comes from the fact that the books and the movie were writen with two different aims.

A) The books started out as stories (more than one) that were linked together. Say like the episodes of babylon 5 or some other tv series. Back then, before the invention of the brain numbing image box, stories like those of Ulyses (Odiseus) were big epics made of many little stories that told a bigger story (say trying to get back to Greece or destroying a ring).

Then came american movies, tv and video games and our attention span grew shorter.


B) The movie was made so it could fit into less than 3 hours. It had to appeal to people that aren't die-hard fans of the father of fantasy literature. The same thing would happen if they did a movie about Jordan's novels. Even then, many people came out of the movie puzzled because there was too much to take in at once and there was no real closure.

The first contact I had with LOTR and the Hobbit was as bed time stories my Aunt read me when she babysat. This is where I make my point, believe it or not. Every little thing that got cut out of the movie are little side treks that are very good stories (or bed time stories) yes, but they don't add to the main plot (the hardships necessary to destroy evil and the resolve it takes to overcome temptation). I too was disapointed to miss out on Tom Bombadil, but he doesn't add much to the story (much to my chagrin).

The things that got changed? So what. I like most of the changes.

Reaction to some specific criticism:

1) The magic fight scene… I personally prefered the cartoon version, it seemed more… mystical. But the Bavmorda-Razel fight would have also worked better for me. Although I could have been soooo much worst (remember the D&D movie?)

2) The Uruk Haï are made by Sarouman… so what if they used to be half orcs in the books. They fill the same role, the tireless, evil horde of grunts in his employ.

3) The fight scenes were bad? WTF are you on man? The choreography was amazing, the rythm was perfect. You could even see the difference between the Uruk Haï and the Moria Orcs, both in terms of fighting style, equipment and discipline.

4) Sauron was dissapointing? I don't know. At first it surprised me how they made him (or is it an IT). But then, Sauron only becomes scarry once he loses his physical form (even in the books). I must admit though that when he was blasting away with his mace, the theme song of the Asterix Cartoons popped up in my mind. But when I remember the Silmarilion… it does look like the fight I saw in the movie.

5) No movie can be as good as your own imagination. I'm in total agreement except for two things in this movie:
a) Legolas: man was he a gazillion times more amazing than what I imagined.
b) The Balrog of Moria: What they did with the smoke and shadows around him was bloody amazing. It was scarier than what I imagined.
c) Aragorn was exactly like I imagined him both physically and in termes of psychology (so far).

6) Elrond vs Agent Smith. It was nice, actually to see this actor do Elrond. Although it kind of ruins agent Smith for me, he'll seem likable and horourable now… oh well.

Some of my own criticism:

1) Damn I didn't get to see Tom Bombadil! Oh well. I'll have to read the book again…

2) The halflings trust Aragorn way too fast and they left out the "he would look nicer but seem fouler" part which was great in the book. Although I must admit that I got the feeling of it in the bar. Had I not read the books I would have been surprised to find out Aragorn was a good guy (like Tolkien tricked me in his book). But, if they had put that in, they would have had to cut something else… the birds scene perhaps?

3) The temptation of Galadriel was way better in my mind. Although a great casting (even if I was surprised by the choice) the "Terrible goddess of beauty" effect didn't do it for me.

4) I too found that they didn't spend enough time on the gifts of Galadriel, although they spent time on the only "real" important gift, the Star of the Elves.

5) Damn it, I can't watch alien without thinking the android is a hobbit! Damn! Damn! Damn!

6) The making of the Fellowship of the ring at the end of Elrond's Council reminded me too much of a Star Wars movie ending. I half expected to see Yoda glowing in the corner of the creen. But at least the council of Elrond didn't take half an hour.

Well that's it.

Still Tas and Sigil are agreeing on something, it scares me…

Cthulhu Matata!

Oops I hit submit instead of preview, there will be tons of mistakes in the previous post since I wrote it first draft... sorry.

And I agree with Tas or is Caliban that anyone who doesn't find Kate Blanchet hot has to be brain damaged or has the esthetic sense of a gully dwarf :-b

The merger of Arwen and the elf friend of Aragorn didn't bother me the least, hell I thought it was supposed to be like in the cartoon, but I read the books twice, the last time was 14 years ago so… But I'll start reading the books again once I finish the novel I'm reading at the moment.
Anyway, they did a great Arwen, one a neophite to LOTR could see as being Aragorn's true love. Had she just been another cardboard elf, viewers would have gone: "WTF do they waste our time showing us this chick?" Just like some would have would have reacted to Tom Bombadil who might have seemed like a useless comic relief character (Like a certain flappy eared alien, without the whiny voice, the irritating sceams and noise or the stupid slap stick jokes.)

Having re-read one of the other posts I realize why Sauron bothered me a bit… he does look like a bad guy from Power Rangers or Black Scorpion.
But the effect is still there, he does look evil and powerfull (a bit taller than I thought though). Still, as I said before it is the presence of Sauron that is unerving through out the novels, so his/its physical appearance becomes secondary.

By the way, I don't know why some people pick on the music, I found it to be excellent.

I haven't read any comment about it, but am I the only person who thought the "nether vision" effect granted the ring wearer is amazing? That was way better than the astral projection psychedelic shit I imagined when I read the book.

Can't wait for the DVD to come out with all the extra scenes, the making off parts and… damn! I drooled on my keyboard.


I think I just figured it out...

I think I just figured out why a lot of people have problems with the movie... they are having difficulty in distinguishing between those characters who are important people in Middle Earth (e.g., Bombadil, Glorfindel, etc.) and those characters who are important in the telling of the Lord of the Rings.

Tom Bombadil and Glorfindel and Radagast the Brown are all very important characters in the world of Middle Earth... but they are NOT central to the STORY within the Lord of the Rings. That's why they got the axe.

Let me give you another example (and sorry if it's a little USA-centric)... George W. Bush is a very important person in the USA c. 2002. But if someone was telling a story about how my wife and I met, you would definitely want to cut him out of the story.

I think people are upset because they are having a hard time figuring out who is important to the STORY as opposed to who is important to the WORLD of Middle Earth.

And I agree that Tom Bombadil ran a horrible risk of turning into the next Jar-Jar Binks... *shudders*

And the nether vision effect was definitely cool.

--The Sigil

Thirty years is a long time to wait for any film, particulary when it's the LotR. So, it was with considerable trepidation that I sat in that cinema on the 19th and the lights dimmed, I felt as though I was throwing the chips of my imagination onto the casino table and waited for the crunch. I needn't have worried The film was excellent! Yep there were bits that didn't quite match up with my own mental images, but I expected that. There were a few deviations, but I expected those also. But there were also bits that surpassed the written word, filled the gaps that were beyond my ablity to imagine clearly. I have read all the comments from previous posts. Well said - all of you. There have been a number of references to 'die hard' Tolkien fans. As a past member of the Tolkien Society and an avid follower of Tolkien's works for many years, I could probably be dropped into that category. But let me say, Peter Jackson took one of the most compelling and difficult stories of our time and turned it into a what will hopefully become one of the greatest movies of our time. It could easily have been otherwise. Watch the film, read the book (again), and...enjoy.

I enjoyed the book so much i read it twice, already watched the film twice, need i say more about how i felt towards it. It was better written than the book - strange that. Glad they got rid of the songs and that annoyning character after the Old forest. However i didnt get the same feeling about how hard all the travelling was reaching there destinations, the struggle to keep moving wasnt there, still, 2 to go :)

Hey I found another benefit for the movie!

The newbees at our gaming tables have something to feed their mental imagerie when we game now. After the movie my girlfriend said to me "Remember when we fought the Orc pirates? Wow now I can see that fight in a whole new way."*

The GM's girlfriend also plays better since she saw the movie. It gave her some insight into what could be tried and what things look, sound and feel like in a fantasy RPG.

So maybe this movie will bring in new RPGers, wich is always a good thing to keep my favorite hobby in good health. Hey I am certain we are in for a good 10 years of fantasy movies. Man are there gonna be lemons, but there will be great movies like we had 15 years ago.

Hey LOTR even allowed me to drag my girlfriend to a movie in english.

Cthulhu Matata

*Actually she said it in french but I'm translating for most people's benefit.

Hobbits rule! LOtR is like, the best movie/book of all time(save The Dark Crystal, of course).

I must admit, that when I first saw the movie, although some of it 'wow'ed me, a lot of it left me going eeee, thats not right.

But I really recommend getting the extended DVD, it made it a much better movie in my opinion. Actually, its almost worth it for the 5 hours of documentary about the making of. These aren't the crappy ones you see on the TV.

They tell you the reasoning behind everything.

For example

The Argonath? They constructed the bigatures/minatures, with quarries in the cliffside, to show where the numenorians woul have got the stone for the bits which weren't carved out of the cliff.

They show you the Sauron helmet, and point out that they were looking for the look of a rotting horse skull, the long nostrils, and overlaid with an eerie ivory look patina.

Seriously dude, in the end, my biggest gripe became Aragon not carrying anduril, and saying 'Lets hunt some orc' at the end of the film.

And I'm one of those people who loves the simarilion :D

Less than 24 hours to go... can't wait.

16 hours...

Well I've seen Two Towers.

It is an amazing fantasy movie. I'm not sure if I like it as much as the Fellowship of the Ring, I'm still a bit groggy, I've been lining up kilocafs after kilocafs since I've had a 3 hours night sleep. Short coffee break, so not much time to write.

One thing bugged me very very much. The stereotypical dorky gamers who got out the movie all foaming at the mouth because Jackson didn't stick to the book. And man did he ever not follow the book. Still, it tells almost the same story, and quite nicely at that.

What bugs me is the folks who don't realise that movie making is an art form, and comes much more from the artist than from the original subject. For crying out loud, it was 3 hours long! It started at 25 past midnight, lasted close to 3 hours. Most of us had had long days and had waited hours in line to get into a movie for which we had bought tickets months in advance. The dorky whiners were speechless during the entire movie (3 hours did I tell ya?), they laughed, jumped, ooed and aaaaed at the same time as me. We were all mesmerized by the movie, which told a different story than the books we had read. For 3 hours!

Then the movie ended (quite abruptly at that), the lights came on and the credits rolled. Then the dorks started quoting scrypture from the holy tome of the Two Towers.

So what if Frodo gets dragged back to Gondor, so what if elves come to Helmgorge Keep, so what if the interest of Eowin for Arargorn seems less one way, so what if the characters make more jokes among themselves, so what if Pipin and Merry play a much more active role in getting the orcs involved, soooo frigin what!

Golum/Smeagol was amazing, both in terms of CGI as in terms of acting!

Legolas was done as one with godly agility should have and still is a maniac with a bow.

Aragorn is a very convincing reluctant hero, who doesn't want the burdens life have thrown at him.

Grima Wormtongue was amazingly repulsive and slimy (just as he should).

Gimli was great, although he was too much of a comic relief for my taste. Still I liked him and now the dwarves of my game will get the respect they deserve for being the crazy maniacs that they are on the battle field.

Coffee break way over, ciao.

I am back, having been taken once again to the other realm that I did not know truelly existed in my own country, and once again I am proud to be a New Zealander.

The changes to the book for me where insignificant, because ALL, without exception, of my favourite scenes from the book where realised to perfection. I would rattle them off, but there may be some who have yet to see the movie so I wouldn't want to spoil it.

Sufficive to say the differences, and there are HEAPS, pale in comparison to the accurate portrayal of those snippets of time that lingered with me after I had finished the book.

But, in saying that, I think me and Mr Jackson and his conspirators probably have similiar tastes.

As an example I envisioned the Galadriel 'terrible and beautiful' scene much as it happened in the movie, yet most of my friends did not.

The things that bug me now are:

A) that there is one more year to wait to ROTK,

B) that in one more year I will have almost seen it all, there will be no more story to tell, and in all likelihood Middle Earth, or indeed any other Fantasy would will never be realised with as much conviction, dedication, imagination and collaboration again.

Dec 18th 2003 is set to be bitter sweet day. At least we'll have the extended DVD to look forward to, once that's out it perhaps truely will be over, and then what will we have left to look forward to? The time of Elves will truely be over, and the spirit of Lord of the Rings will travel from these shores, and nothing will be quite as it once was again.

Yes but it will have been a nice ride won't it?

Re: the changes vs the rendition of other scenes. I share your opinion. Many things were done exactly like I envisioned them (or even better in some cases).

Did many of you think worgs should look more like wolves and less like bears?

OK before you correct them I'll do it myself.

That's Helmdeep and Pipin and Merry get the Ents involved.

Gotta get more caf

The wargs were not bears, Sam, they were based on hyenas, which, to my knowledge, are mostly considered to be wolves +1. Jaws that can bite through metal and crack bones like candy canes are usually considered cool, in my book.

Also, I've got to argue with all the people out there saying that the movies are shit because (insert whiny voice here) 'They're not true to the books'.

I'm as big a fan as the books as anyone, but even I think that the movies are far superior. If you want to get bogged down in unneccesary, pointlessly long descriptions, constant changes in pace, tons upon tons of footnotes, pointless characters who are here one minute, gone the next, and a beginning that takes forever to get into, be my guest. But for me, the movies take the best moments from the books, cut out all the unnecessary stuff, add in bits that might have been, all the while with exciting battle scene in between. It's all very well to say that the books are exciting, but who seriously felt exhilarated reading about the troll attack in Balin's Tomb, and the flight to the Bridge Of Khazad-dum in the book, as opposed to seeing it, up on screen in all it's glory.

It's the movies that make the Lord Of The Rings phenomenon what it is.

Oh... and I'm sure that you could've done a better job dickhead.
Just be thankful that a movie was made and stop all this fanboy bitching.
Grow up monkey boy, grow up.